Monday, May 30, 2011


You know what?

 I actually don't like the word tolerance very much at all.  Intolerance works for me, it is honest and straightforward.  Something is unsupportable, you cannot stand it, you cannot tolerate it.

Tolerance though?  You still think it is stupid, wrong minded and useless, but you're going to put up, shut up and get on with your day.

Know what?  That's kind of sneaky and unpleasant, a sort of lying to yourself and everyone else.

Acceptance, that's warmer and more honest.

Curiosity, I love that.  What the heck is that all about?  Like kids.  One of the women where I work is undergoing chemo.  The kids are great.  Why are you wearing that scarf?  Are you sick? Do you feel bad? Will your hair grow back?  Will you get better?

Genuine concern and a genuine desire to understand.

But tolerance?



Beth said...

This is brilliant and exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you, C!

Anonymous said...

Great thought. This definition reminds me a lot of the Québec "accomodements"...

Nomad said...

hmmm....something inkling in this about how much we know, and how sure we are of our opinions, and how open we are to maybe understanding that we might not fully get someone else's picture...? I think this might be my (aspired) version of tolerance...not so much putting up with crap we know is wrong, but being open to the idea that sometimes when something is new it might feel strange to entertain.

But how can we have acceptance and intolerance at the same time? I do not think they can exist side by side.

There is something about intolerance that really riles me. (Oh my goodness that means I am being intolerant!!!) Something that says I know and that one over there, the one I am essentially judging does not! How in the world can I say?

Nomad said...

I do agree though that acceptance is the way...never the easy way but certainly the way. Lovely about the kids. I am sure it is a relief for your firend to discuss her life openly with them. So many of us act as thought we do not "see" what is going on. This is the worst to feel that you are hiding something.

Helen said...

I disagree with your definition of tolerance. It isn't just putting up with things because it is more active than that. Tolerance is what makes people change the laws so that homosexuality is no longer illegal - it is the ability to look at something which is very different from what you know and what you prefer, and not judge based on your preferences but on what is fair and just.

It is a good thing

Nomad said...

This is a very interesting point.
Thanks for making it.

Oreneta, I am interested in your response.
I am certainly thinking a lot about what this means...